Brown Assists Prosecutors to Fight ID Theft, Privacy Violations

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES--In an effort to bolster personal privacy and intellectual property rights, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that District Attorneys in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego will begin receiving funds for the fight against identity theft violations. The funds, which will be used to purchase specialized equipment, will also assist prosecutors in the evaluation of intellectual property rights violations and other privacy violations. The financial disbursements are the direct result of the state's settlement of a civil case against Hewlett Packard following allegations that the company engaged in the practice of pretexting in order to gain unlawful access to phone records.

The disbursement, totaling $178,000, marks the first of many payments from the state's $13.5 million Privacy and Piracy Fund established in the wake of the settlement. The funds will be used to purchase equipment, including technology for forensic computer analysis, which will assist in the evaluation of evidence from identity theft investigations.

Brown said: 'This Fund provides substantial sums to local prosecutors, over the next decade, to defend against against high-tech crimes and identity theft. This action, the first of many, is another step towards protecting personal privacy in the age of the Internet.'

Today's recipients of the grant are the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the Orange County District Attorney's Office, and the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

Every year, up to $500,000 from the Fund can be distributed to district attorneys and city attorneys so that they can conduct investigations and bring prosecutions to protect privacy rights and intellectual property rights.

The civil complaint alleged that Hewlett Packard used false pretenses to obtain personal confidential information, including billing records, from phone companies.

Attorney General Brown will continue to accept applications for disbursements from the Fund for the remainder of 2007. District attorneys and city attorneys are encouraged to continue submitting applications, pursuant to the instructions outlined at: http://ag.ca.gov/hpsettlement/

The settlement agreement is attached.

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PDF icon Agreement173.95 KB